I put this movie on for my mom and planned to leave and come back when the movie was done; but instead I started to watch with her, and stayed until the end.  I’ve seen this movie before, enjoyed it the first time, and I figured it’s worth a second watch.

“Dan In Real Life” stars Steve Carell, who plays the title role.  He’s a widower who is in a perpetually sad state because he’s never let go of his wife who has been dead for years.  Adding to his problem are his three daughters who are growing up too fast for Carell’s comfort.  Carell and family and all their baggage go into a car and off they go to a family get-together in Rhode Island; and it is there that Carell will meet a woman who will change his life, for better…and for worse.

Taking a break from his daughters who are giving him the cold shoulder because he’s being the typical, overprotective dad, Carell goes into a bookstore and finds Juliette Binoche needing help on finding a few books.  Not a problem for Carell, who makes a living in the literary field.  Small chit-chat leads to a lengthier conversation over coffee, and the two have clearly made a love connection.  Before the romance could progress, Binoche has to leave.  She’s meeting her new boyfriend, you see.  Ugh, life gives another body blow to Carell, but he is hopeful, and manages to get Binoche’s phone number…you know, just to talk and finish their conversation and that’ll be the end of it.  Ha-ha.  Slickly done, but he’s not fooling anybody, especially Binoche.

Soooo, Carell goes back to his family get-together, and is all excited talking about this amazing woman whom he has met…and she walks into the room — Binoche is the new girlfriend of Carell’s brother (played by Dane Cook)!  Life gives an uppercut to Carell, almost knocking him out.  But he toughs it out, telling himself that he won’t ruin his brother’s new relationship, and that he will just ignore Binoche, and that will be the end of it.  Again, he’s not fooling anybody — well, maybe himself — because with each hour that passes, Carell finds something else to love about Binoche, and vice-versa.  How long can they keep their love hidden before they are found out?

My most memorable, movie moment of “Dan In Real Life” is the scene when the Carell family are waiting for Carell’s blind date — set up by his parents — with Carell’s High School classmate who was nicknamed “pig face.”  As Carell paces the floor, obviously nervous about an unwanted date, his relatives create a song that mocks “pig face.”  Then she arrives, and “pig face” is played by Emily Blunt!  Gorgeous, Emily Blunt: hair all done, full make-up, tight, short, red dress, toned body…life throws a wrench in the Carell/Binoche romance.

There’s nothing extraordinary about “Dan In Real Life,” it’s simply a good romantic-comedy that follows all the basic points of its genre.  It’ll make you laugh, maybe give some insights to your own problems in life, and then leave you with a warm, happy thoughts.  Isn’t that worth about an hour and a half of your time?

— M